[ RadSafe ] NYC Proposal to Permit Radiation Detectors

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Fri Jan 4 22:58:25 CST 2008

Jan. 4

         A few comments on the proposed law before the NYC Council   (My 
thanks to Clayton Bradt for posting this proposed law.)

10-807 Rules.
a. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate such rules as he or she 
deems necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.

b. To promote the legislative purposes of this chapter, such rules may 
include but are not limited to:

(1) minimum technical standards and capabilities that must be met by 
biological, chemical and radiological detectors, as determined in 
consultation with other appropriate city agencies, including but not 
limited to the department of health and mental hygiene and department of 
environmental protection;


         Standards will be determined by the city (the police commissioner) 
in consultation with the appropriate city agencies.  Do the manufacturers 
of the detectors fit into this anywhere, and if so, where?  Will the city 
accept the existing standards for detectors, or will it put a bunch of 
bureaucrats to work drawing up new standards?  How will these be 
decided?  Will they be written to include only certain manufacturers?  It's 
going to be a little like writing bid specifications.  Some of us have 
probably been exposed to the seamy underside of that.  -----

(3) the thresholds of an indicated biological agent, chemical agent, 
radiation or radioactive substance, as determined in consultation with the 
department of health and mental hygiene and the department of environmental 
protection, at which the police department must be notified by the permit 
holder or other action by such permit holder must be taken;


         Do all such agents have established thresholds?  Which threshold 
will be used:  IDLH?  PEL?  If different agencies have different 
thresholds, which agencies will rule?  Will the Federal EPA trump the city 
of New York?  Will the state want to get its oar in on this?  Is there a 
potential here for some nasty jurisdictional disputes? -----

(5) requirements relating to the means by which the police department will 
be notified in the event of an alarm;


         Mike Brennan wrote, "The definition connected with chemical 
detectors would mean that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, 
natural gas detectors would have to be permitted, as well as all testers 
used for closed space entry, installed devices at places like dry-cleaners, 
even the equipment use smog-check cars."

         What if a bunch of hippies are smoking dope and set off their 
smoke detector?  Will they call in a notification?  Send a text 
message?  Who is going to take all these calls?  Wait until winter comes 
and all the defective furnaces begin setting off the carbon monoxide 
detectors.  Mike also wrote, "I doubt you could even start such a program 
to handle this with less than a hundred or so people and all their support 
equipment."  Not to detract from Mike's observation, but NYC would probably 
have to add several hundred police department operators to take all the 
telephone calls just to handle chemical detector alarms.

         The ordinance says, "The commissioner shall review the application 
and investigate the information contained therein, requesting and receiving 
from the applicant any further information as may be necessary for his or 
her determination."

         NYC will need hundreds of employees to review all the 
applications.  Another provision of the ordinance says, the commissioner 
shall write rules specifying "requirements relating to the character and 
fitness of applicants to possess or deploy such detectors . . ."  How many 
thousands of spies and snoopers will be needed to determine character and 

         Point made, and enough comments.  Assuming that the city of New 
York is serious about applying this thing in its present form, reviewing 
applications and establishing "character and fitness" would require the 
founding of a police state whose scope of duties and whose power would 
surpass any police state in human history.  Such a police state would more 
than dwarf the police state that presently rules and reigns in Communist China.

         This proposed ordinance cannot be revised or re-written, it needs 
to be thrown out and permanently forgotten about.

Steven Dapra
sjd at swcp.com

At 04:22 PM 1/4/08 -0500, Clayton J Bradt wrote:

>Below is the text of a proposed law before the NYC Council that, as 
>written, could require all radiation detectors in NYC to be permitted by
>the Commissioner of Police. It would set technical specifications for 
>detectors to meet in order to be permitted, and would require that each
>alarm indicating  the presence of radiation or radioactive material be 
>reported immediately to NYPD.
>A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8. 
>RADSAFERs located in NYC may want to comment on this.  It certainly seems
>that this could very much complicate the lives of everyone who handles 
>radioactive materials or makes use ionizing radiation in NYC, whether or
>not they are licensees of the City  or State Departments of Health or the NRC.
>It aint pretty.


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